Impact of maternal ART on mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV at six weeks postpartum in Rwanda
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BACKGROUND: In 2010, Rwanda adopted ART for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV from pregnant women living with HIV during pregnancy and breasfeeding period. This study examines rates of mother-to-childtransmission of HIV at 6–10 weeks postpartum and risk factors for mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) among HIV infected women on ART during pregnancy and breastfeeding. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted between July 2011–June 2012 among HIV-exposed infants aged 6–10 weeks and their mothers/caregivers. Stratified multi-stage, probability proportional to size and systematic sampling to select a national representative sample of clients. Consenting mothers/caregivers were interviewed on demographic and program interventions. Dry blood spots from HIV-exposed infants were collected for HIV testing using DNA PCR technique. Results are weighted for sample realization. Univariable analysis of socio-demographic and programmatic determinants of early mother-to-child transmission of HIV was conducted. Variables were retained for final multivariable models if they were either at least of marginal significance (p-value < 0.10) or played a confounding role (the variable had a noticeable impact > 10% change on the effect estimate). RESULTS: The study sample was 1639 infants with HIV test results. Twenty-six infants were diagnosed HIV-positive translating to a weighted MTCT estimate of 1.58% (95% CI 1.05–2.37%). Coverage of most elimination of MTCT (EMTCT) program interventions, was above 80, and 90.4% of mother-infant pairs received antiretroviral treatment or prophylaxis. Maternal ART and infant antiretroviral prophylaxis (OR 0.01; 95%CI 0.001–0.17) and maternal age older than 25 years were significantly protective (OR 0.33; 95%CI 0.14–0.78). No disclosure of HIV status, not testing for syphilis during pregnancy and preterm birth were significant risk factors for MTCT. Factors suggesting higher sociodemographic status (flush toilet, mother self-employed) were borderline risk factors for MTCT. CONCLUSION: ART for all women during pregnancy and breastfeeding was associated with the estimated low MTCT rate of 1.58%. Mothers who did not receive a full package of anti-retroviral therapy according to the Rwanda EMTCT protocol, and young and single mothers were at higher risk of MTCT and should be targeted for support in preventing HIV infection.